Beyond the Sea
Originally posted Apr 29, 2015
Having spent my entire life out here on the Great Plains, I was 19 before I ever laid eyes on the ocean…any ocean. That summer, after July 4th, two buddies and I drove out to California with the intent of getting hired on at the then-new Disneyland for the balance of the summer. And we did, joining some high school friends who had gone out earlier and were ensconced in an apartment across the freeway in Anaheim.
Because we had hardly any money, we drove more-or-less straight though and arrived late in the afternoon, to take a nap while our friends put in their evening shift at the park. Then, a sizeable group of us headed down to Laguna to a very hip coffee house for a cursory introduction to life in a beach town. Between espressos, one of my friends and I walked down the block for my first look at the ocean. The surf was pretty high that dark night, and the sheer power of it visually knocked me flat. When the friend asked if I wanted to go down the long flight of cliff-side board steps to the beach, I demurred, but the next day, after visiting the park and getting menial employment, we again headed for Laguna and got seriously acquainted with the Pacific.
That was a lifetime ago, but I’ve never lost my fascination for the sea, and whenever I’m around it, the ocean sort of takes over my visual life. Whatever else is going on, I keep going back for another look. The darn thing is so vast that I just can’t turn away from it in my imagination.
Since the kids moved from Colorado to Florida almost two decades ago now, I have had plenty of chances to be around, in, and on the Atlantic. Their first years in Ormond Beach, their house was a couple of blocks from the beach, and after Delaney came along, when I’d go down for an extended visit, I’d lodge in a funky cottage right on the shore, where I’d fall asleep and wake up to the sound of the surf…assuming there was one that day.
I’ve asked Kris if she ever just gets used to having the ocean at hand – if it ever becomes routine - and she says definitely not. I liken this to the way those of us who spin in the orbit of the Nebraska State Capitol feel about that magnificent building. It’s right outside my office window, and I have it in view whenever I’m in my office, but it never fails to fascinate. I never walk in the door to the place without, at some level of consciousness, thinking/feeling “unbelievable.”
The kids now have moved up the coast a few miles to Palm Coast and also moved inland about five miles from Flagler Beach. And I love to drive over there and just gaze out to sea and think that if you took off from there in a straight line east, several thousand miles later, you’d land approximately at Morocco. Think Casa Blanca.
And I just can’t get over that…and never will.
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